Happy & Healthy Truck Drivers
There is a perceived toughness of drivers in the trucking industry, and seasoned veterans know you need to have thick skin to do the job, but there is another side to life on the road. Due to the nature of trucking, studies show that drivers face increased challenges, such as loneliness (27.9%), depression (26.9%), chronic sleep disturbances (20.6%), anxiety (14.5%), and other emotional problems (13%).
March 12, 2020 | Trucker
By: Cliff J.
I bring over 30 years of trucking industry experience to Acuity. I worked my way up from driving to managing the safety operations of a transportation company, culminating in owning and managing my own regional trucking company. My main goal at Acuity is to help you, the motor carrier, the owner/operator and the driver better understand the insurance industry and help shape Acuity’s products and services to better meet your needs. I regularly provide ongoing trucking training to Acuity employees to help them understand the unique needs of those in the trucking/transportation industry. With over 30 years in the transportation sector, as both a company driver and as owner and manager of a trucking company, I have first-hand experience that helps me understand the challenges truckers’ face, and detailed knowledge of transportation regulations. My experience coupled with a background in insurance loss control can help answer and provide solutions to any issues that may arise.

There is a perceived toughness of drivers in the trucking industry, and seasoned veterans know you need to have thick skin to do the job, but there is another side to life on the road. Due to the nature of trucking,  studies show that drivers face increased challenges, such as loneliness (27.9%), depression (26.9%), chronic sleep disturbances (20.6%), anxiety (14.5%), and other emotional problems (13%). With approximately 3.5 million professional truck drivers in the United States, according to estimates by the American Trucking Association, truck drivers must understand they are not alone in their struggles. Many people, from children to adults, struggle with mental health needs, and as our society increases its awareness of these needs, the availability of support resources improves.

 

 Listed below are four common issues truck drivers face that can affect mental health. 

 

  1. Stress. Truck driving is often stressful. Heavy stop-and-go traffic, weather changes, unexpected delays, mechanical problems, and miscommunication are just some of the issues that can affect stress levels.
  2. Isolation. For many drivers, being away from family is one of the most difficult aspects of the job. Spending long hours alone can contribute to feelings of isolation. Drivers may also feel guilt when they are not able to be there for their family. I have seen the internal battle drivers face balancing their need to make a living with their desire for quality home time.  
  3. Diet. Drivers often have limited access to healthy food choices. According to the Mayo Clinic, several studies have found that those with poor diets were more likely to report symptoms of depression. The good news is that people who ate a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and fish were less likely to report depression.
  4. Sleep. Lack of proper sleep is a significant risk factor in reduced mental health.    

 

We all need to take mental health seriously. If you, a friend, or family member is affected, they need to know they are not alone in their struggles. If any symptoms of depression are occurring, it’s time to seek professional help. Free helplines are available, and people call them for a variety of reasons. Most reach out when they are feeling overwhelmed, in crisis, or at risk of doing something they would later regret.

 

Helpline resources include:

 

  1. Emergency Medical Services (911).  If the situation is potentially life threatening, get immediate emergency assistance by calling 911 at any time.
  2. SAMHSA Treatment Referral Helpline (877.726.4727). Get general information on mental health and locate treatment services in your area. Speak to a live person, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET.
  3. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800.273.8255). If you or someone you know is suicidal or in emotional distress, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Trained crisis workers are available to talk 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Your confidential and toll-free call goes to the nearest crisis center in the national network. These centers provide crisis counseling and mental health referrals. They also have a live online chat. 
By: Cliff J.
I bring over 30 years of trucking industry experience to Acuity. I worked my way up from driving to managing the safety operations of a transportation company, culminating in owning and managing my own regional trucking company. My main goal at Acuity is to help you, the motor carrier, the owner/operator and the driver better understand the insurance industry and help shape Acuity’s products and services to better meet your needs. I regularly provide ongoing trucking training to Acuity employees to help them understand the unique needs of those in the trucking/transportation industry. With over 30 years in the transportation sector, as both a company driver and as owner and manager of a trucking company, I have first-hand experience that helps me understand the challenges truckers’ face, and detailed knowledge of transportation regulations. My experience coupled with a background in insurance loss control can help answer and provide solutions to any issues that may arise.